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Facebook to bring News tab to more countries soon
by Paul Hill
Facebook has announced that it’s accelerating its plans to expand its News tab to more countries in the next six months to a year. The new areas which Facebook News could serve include the U.K., Germany, France, India, and Brazil but it is still considering its options. The company said that it will pay news publishers to include their content in the News tab.
According to the social media giant, Facebook News takes time to enter new markets because consumer habits and news inventories differ in different areas. In the aforementioned countries, Facebook is going to work closely with publishers in a way that honours their business models and delivers a valuable experience for users.
While Facebook is now looking to bring its product to other countries, it still plans to develop Facebook News in the United States where it has already launched. The firm said:
With a lot of people getting their information from social media and these new tools allowing for the quick spread of information, it’s important for social media firms to have a tool akin to Facebook News so that people can get legitimate information.
EU wants the U.S. to come back to the table on digital taxes
by Paul Hill
The European Union has asked the United States to come back to the negotiation table to discuss the issue of digital taxation. The EU said that it wanted the talks to take place at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) but that if those talks fell through, would be willing to make a new proposal at the EU level.
If an agreement is found on the OECD level, several states from around the world would also benefit from new tax revenues from tech firms. The EU has been pushing for the adoption of new taxes for a while now but things seemed to have slowed down which has caused France to take unilateral action. France’s efforts have caused a bad response from the Trump administration which has threatened to put high duties on French imports.
Commenting on the matter, an EU spokesperson said:
The spokesperson relayed the EU’s message that fair taxation of the digital economy was a top priority for the bloc. The U.S., however, believes that such taxes unfairly go after U.S. tech firms. If the current administration continues to refuse to move on the issue, it may remain unresolved until the country sees new leadership which could be six months to four-and-a-half years away.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
France will encourage 5G telcos to avoid using Huawei's equipment
by Usman Khan Lodhi
The French government will not impose a complete ban on the use of Huawei technology in the country's 5G network, but it would encourage French telcos to avoid using the equipment manufactured by the Shenzhen firm, Guillaume Poupard, ANSSI's head, said. Similarly, The Telegraph reported yesterday that Boris Johnson would begin phasing out the use of Huawei's technology in Britain's 5G network in as little as six months, though the country's health minister later said that the firm must meet conditions for the continuance of its involvement. Poupard said:
Previously, it was believed that France would keep Huawei out of its core mobile network, which carries higher surveillance perils because it processes sensitive data including citizens' personal information. This decision severely impacts Bouygues Telecom and SFR, two of France's four telecoms operators, as roughly half of their current infrastructure is supported by Huawei. Poupard stated:
State-owned Orange has already opted for Huawei's competitors Ericsson and Nokia. Starting next week, telecom operators that haven't received explicit permission to use Huawei equipment for the 5G network may consider the non-response as a rejection of their request after the legal deadline passes. Poupard also said the decision was made in an attempt to protect the country's independence.
By Ather Fawaz
Hundreds arrested, drugs and arms seized in the wake of police infiltration of a texting app
by Ather Fawaz
Following a Europe-wide operation by police forces, more than 800 criminals have been put behind bars and over two tons of drugs, several dozen guns, and £54 million in suspect cash have been seized. To enable this, the National Security Agency (NSA) worked in collaboration with police forces across Europe, including the Europol, to hack a texting application to obtain information about the criminals.
Dubbed 'Operation Venetic,' the mission took root in 2017 and entailed intercepting and decrypting messages on the allegedly secure texting app called EncroChat. By working over customized Android phones, the French app garnered over 60,000 users and provided features like the ability to send self-destructing messages and edit previously-sent messages.
A few months back, police were able to introduce malware into the app that decrypted and exposed the conversations and images of its users who were found to be openly discussing drug deals and other illegal operations on the platform. BBC wrote in its report that:
Last month, reports started surfacing claiming that the app had been compromised by law enforcement agencies via malware. Around the same time, EncroChat sent out a message to its users stating that it can no longer guarantee security and anonymity on the platform.
Image via EncroCchat Consequently, according to reports by police units, people started throwing away their phones but it was too little too late at that point. Law enforcement agencies and police moved swiftly to arrest over 800 criminals, including major crime figures, and seized over two tonnes of drugs, several dozen guns, and £54 million in suspect cash. In the wake of the operation, EncroChat has been shut down as well.
Nokia plans to slash a third of jobs at Alcatel-Lucent
by Paul Hill
Nokia is reportedly set to cut 1,233 jobs at its subsidiary in France, Alcatel-Lucent. The Finnish firm confirmed it would be taking the steps following the publication of an earlier report by Reuters speculating on the cuts. The move has already drawn the ire of the CFE-CGC union but it could also receive criticism from the government as the Alcatel-Lucent acquisition was approved on the condition it would keep jobs.
The CFE-CGC union which represent employees at the company issued the following comments:
In France, Nokia employs 5,138 people with 3,640 of those currently working for Alcatel-Lucent. The newly announced job cuts will represent a third of the Alcatel-Lucent workforce being laid off. It comes just months after Nokia said it would need to cut costs by €500 million by the end of this year. €350 million is expected to be saved by changes to operating expenses and €150 million will come from sales costs.
To Nokia’s credit, when it bought Alcatel-Lucent, it committed to preserving the jobs for two years and expanding R&D teams in France to help it develop 5G technologies. It has now been four years since it acquired the firm and is only now making cuts. According to Reuters, the jobs in R&D are expected to feel the brunt of the latest round of job cuts.
Defending the move, President of Nokia in France Thierry Boisnon, said:
The French government has not issued an immediate comment on the matter but it’ll likely wish the news came at a better time with COVID-19 expected to hit economies, worldwide, hard.